BACKGROUND: Neoadjuvant chemotherapy is offered to many patients with breast cancer. In patients undergoing mastectomy and immediate breast reconstruction, there is concern that this treatment could increase postoperative complications. The authors characterize which patients are at a higher risk of experiencing a postoperative complication, and assess the impact of postoperative complications on timing of radiation treatment. METHODS: A retrospective review was performed on patients who underwent neoadjuvant chemotherapy with mastectomy and immediate breast reconstruction using tissue expanders. Multivariable binomial logistic regression analysis was used to identify risk factors for experiencing a postoperative complication. Independent samples t tests were used to compare means for neoadjuvant chemotherapy timing and time to commencement of radiation therapy between patients with and without complications. RESULTS: A total of 128 patients were identified. Patients that experienced a complication had a statistically significant difference in time to commencement of radiation therapy (p = 0.021) and an elevated body mass index (p = 0.018) compared with patients who experienced no complication; there was no difference in timing interval of neoadjuvant chemotherapy (p = 0.692). Logistic regression showed an associate between body mass index and postoperative complication (OR, 1.09; 95 percent CI, 1.018 to 1.167; p = 0.013). CONCLUSIONS: Postoperative complications delay the commencement of radiation therapy in patients who received neoadjuvant chemotherapy and undergo mastectomy with immediate breast reconstruction. The period from the last dose of neoadjuvant chemotherapy was equivalent between those that experienced postoperative complications and those that did not. Patients with a higher body mass index are more likely to experience postoperative complications, and this should be considered when offering tissue expanders to obese patients who have received neoadjuvant chemotherapy and require adjuvant radiation treatment. CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Risk, III.
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